A fundamental difference between the true and living God and the false gods of human imagination is that of Jehovah’s utter, uncompromising, pristine holiness. As pointed out by sociologists Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist in their 2005 book Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers, there is a distinct faith among Americans today which has come to be described as “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.”
This false religion believes in a deity who wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, if possible. It teaches that the central goal in life is not to fear God and keep His commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13); rather, it is to be happy and feel good about yourself. Its deity does not demand repentance or obedience and he does not seek to build character through suffering; rather, its god is “something like a combination of a Divine Butler and Cosmic Therapist: he’s always on call, takes care of any problems that arise, professionally helps his people to feel better about themselves, and does not become too personally involved in the process” (p. 165). In short, holiness is of little, if any, concern.
In Psalm 5:4-6, David paints a portrait of Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, that is far different from this popular idol. He unmistakably and specifically describes ways in which the holy, holy, holy God expresses His uncompromised purity. In these three verses, one learns that:
–Jehovah takes no pleasure in wickedness.
–Jehovah is completely free from evil.
–Jehovah gives no standing to the boastful.
–Jehovah hates all workers of iniquity.
–Jehovah destroys those who speak falsehood.
–Jehovah abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful.
Any false conception of God—regardless of whether it is a mental image or a metal one—is an idol. Any religious belief that minimizes the genuine holiness of Jehovah is a false one.
“Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1st John 5:21).
Keep yourself from the popular idol of “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.”